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Monday and Tuesday, September 26-27, 2016
Nebraskan Student Union Ponderosa Room
Since 1964, Kearney State College, now the University of Nebraska at Kearney, has sponsored an international conference with the goal of introducing faculty, students, Central Nebraska residents and beyond to a wide variety of topics of international significance. In 1988 the name of the conference was changed to honor Professor James E. Smith. We recognize today, as did the Conference’s founders, how critical discussion and interaction with people from diverse cultures is for a complete education. Global economic interdependence, the development of appropriate environmental strategies, the resolution of regional conflicts, and the enhancement of human rights all require a global perspective. Furthermore we realized long ago the strong connections that interact between communities, states, and countries; thereby bringing into focus that issues in other parts of the world shape the quality of our lives here in Nebraska.
The current crisis around refugees and immigration is what prompted us to select as this year’s theme, Migration, Borders and Identity: Building Bridges or Walls. Dignitaries representing different countries as well as scholars and other professionals with expertise related to the issue will join in the discussion about such topics as: war/conflict and displacement, push/pull factors for migration, the settlement of refugees, human trafficking, national and ethnic identity, refugee crisis impact on Europe, Diaspora, US/International relations, preparedness and response, and more.
One keynote address, Justice for Migrants and all Working People, will be delivered by Mr. David Bacon. Bacon was a factory worker and union organizer for two decades, including several years with the United Farm Workers, the United Electrical Workers, the International Ladies Garment Workers and other unions. Today he documents the changing conditions in the workforce, the impact of the global economy, war and migration, and the struggle for human rights.
Bacon is the author of several books about migration and globalization: The Children of NAFTA (University of California Press, 2004), Communities Without Borders (ILR/Cornell University Press, 2006), Illegal People – How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press, 2008), and The Right to Stay Home (Beacon Press, 2013).
David Bacon's photography has been exhibited widely in the U.S., Mexico and Europe, including numerous locations in California and Mexico, the National Civil Rights Museum, the Church Center of the United Nations, IG Metall Galerie in Frankfurt, Galerie Unterhaus in Passau, and KulturAXE in Vienna. He has also had articles and photoessays published by numerous media outlets such as Afterimage, Al Jazeera America, New Labor Forum, La Jornada, the New York Times, and Race, Poverty and the Environment.
Bacon’s photography and journalism have received the Max Steinbock Award, Project Censored Award, Los Angeles Press Club Award, the East Bay Press Association Award, New America Media Award, Domingo Ulloa Cultural Award, and the Distinguished Service Award from the Southwest Labor Studies Association. Illegal People was awarded the C.L.R. James Best Book Award for 2007-8 by the Working Class Studies Association.
It is our hope that the conference will inspire members of the audience to pursue further information about the issues addressed, and instill in our students a lifelong interest in international affairs. As always, we hope that the information provided at this conference will remind UNK faculty, students, and the Kearney community of our connections to the broader global community.